Staying alert and mentally focused

Many of us spend hours in front of computers, required to stay focused and actively engaged with the work in front of us. This can be challenging both physically and mentally and we end up feeling fatigued and dull.

I always say that our bodies were designed to be active and moving. However, much of our daily activity is quite sedentary...we commute for long stretches, work at computers, can shop and bank online, and watch TV for hours. As a result our circulation becomes sluggish, our muscles tighten and shorten and our brain feels foggy. So the number one thing in my opinion to help us stay mentally focused is to moveCertainly this includes some form of moderate daily exercise, but also means that it's important to get away from our desks regularly throughout the day. It is easy to lose track of time while plowing through our work, but just getting up and doing some gentle stretches focused on the upper back and neck is really important.

Some other ideas that can help with focus:  

  • Tapping the top of your head. There are several important acupuncture points on the top of the head and doing a minute or so of gentle tapping of the top of the head will stimulate those points and improve circulation to the brain.
  • Cross-crawl. This technique made popular by the 'Brain Gym' technique helps integrate the left and right hemispheres of the brain. Stand up, lift your left knee and touch your right hand to it and then alternate...repeat several times.
  • Massage your earlobes. There are lots of acupuncture points on your ear that relate to all parts of your body. Gently massaging your entire ear will bring circulation to your head and energize your body.
  • Aromatherapy. There are many wonderful essential oils that have invigorating effects, including peppermint, eucalyptus, spearmint, lemon and rosewood. You can put a few drops on a tissue and inhale or use an oil burner on your desk.
  • Caffeine. Sometimes there's just no way around this but if you must have caffeine, the best option is green tea. Coffee can be quite tough on the stomach and is very dehydrating, but green tea is much gentler and, being high in antioxidants, has many health benefits.

Another important factor contributing to our mental clarity is how well we manage stress in our life. Emotional stress especially can lead to real problems concentrating and focusing and it is important to have ways to release this type of stress...but more on that in my next blog. In the mean time, can you add any ideas that help you stay alert and focused?